As with so many other issues in America today, there is dichotomous debate over whether using competition and market forces will improve education, versus increasing the collaboration and support in our existing public schools can produce the changes we seek. As with most binary arguments around complex issues, this one is false, and unnecessarily distracting.
Whether a school is public or private, charter or alternative, principal led or teacher run, one key to its success is how it operates internally.
The aptly named website, Public School Insights, has a wonderful contribution to our understanding of that truth in this piece by Cheryl Williams.
Here’s a slice:
Once more I was reminded that successful schools and districts have visionary, collaborative leadership that includes the superintendent, principals, and school board; collegial relationships with the teachers’ union; and community support that includes parent involvement. The ICW’s emphasis on competitiveness bespeaks a culture that doesn’t fully acknowledge the role of public education, which is to educate ALL children. To the extent we rely on competition to improve some schools, others will be left behind. In that situation the losers are always children, and ultimately the rest of us as well.